We may have mentioned a few times that our adventure with The Venue Report originally began a decade ago, with our event planning career. We came to the quick realization that finding a good celebration location was no easy feat! Sooooo... as we begin 2015 we also share a very special wedding. This nature, Darwin and science-inspired soiree was the very last wedding we ever designed before becoming full time Venue Reporters. We were so fortunate to have the event planning gods smiling down on us for our last event design adventure. We also had a cool-as-cucumber-couple (Cindy and Chris) and their darling dog Dumpling. To put the proverbial cherry on top, this wedding wingding was hosted at uber cool venue Carondelet House.
Originally built in 1928 as an Italian Villa, Carondelet House is filled with rustic brick walls, hardwood floors, exposed beam ceilings and two charming courtyards. The setting is really quite warm and wonderful for Winter events. This particular love fest took place in January when the sun sets by 5 pm, and it's a bit chillier in the California air.
Our darling couple Cindy and Chris had already booked the venue when they hired us. They said it truly was a 'love at first sight' scenario. They had looked and looked and knew that this venue was 'the one.' Just as sure as they had been about their rings, wedding dress and one another. Cindy wanted something that had masculine touches and could carry the party on a tad bit later. Chris wanted the same. They loved the history, they loved the charm and they loved the old Chesterfield worn leather sofas. We agreed. It is a spectacular Los Angeles venue.
This brick-inlaid Italian villa was built for the most fabulous of bellissima fiestas. Warm hardwood floors, high-beamed ceilings, a beautiful fireplace and cool courtyards make this Italian bauble a gem in the glittering sea of Los Angeles event venues. The landmark location is set in the heart of Los Angeles. Although there is ample parking, Cindy and Chris had their guests slumber at a hotel downtown and had shuttle service available for those that didn't want to drive.
Bridal Suite + Grooms Lounge
It is so important for a venue space to have a great gathering room for the bride and her maids to congregate in. It is even better when there is a separate area for the groom-to-be. It gives each of them special time with friends and family to relax and reminisce before the big walk down the aisle side starts! At Carondelet House there is a really lovely bridal suite upstairs which is where Cindy and her besties got ready. It is a relaxing and removed environment from the action of the wedding setup downstairs, and gave Cindy ample privacy so that no looky lou's could get a sneaky peeky at the blushing bride. Meanwhile the groomsmen were comfy and cozy in 'The Study' downstairs. The Study is not your typical grooms' lounge. It is masculine with worn leather tufted sofas, vintage decanters, dark wood moldings and a crackling fireplace at the heart of it all. The perfect setting to drink whiskey on the rocks out of vintage tumblers with your fave rosy faced fellas.
The Venue Spaces
Guests entered Carondelet House via the main street through the two front rooms called the 'North Studio' and 'South Studio'. This is where we set up the photo booth, guest sign in area and the bar. Guests mingled and jingled in these areas while waiting for the ceremony to start.
The ceremony was held in the back room of the venue called 'The Ballroom'. We love that the ceremony space is hidden and separate from the welcoming area. We are all about the 'reveal' and love to surprise the guests with each room transformation throughout the night. 'The Ballroom' is a dramatically long rectangular room with wood flooring, arched windows and brick walls. One of our favorite elements are the beamed ceilings in which we were able to hang twinkle lighting and greenery from, helloooo event design dream!! The Winter wedding was filled with gold pom poms, green ferns, flickering candles and amazing jams by DJ JP Mc Cleod.
After the ceremony and the most gorgeous of heartwarming 'I do's' (we may have shed a tear or two), we flipped the ceremony space into the dining space. What does flipping mean? It means taking a space, and transforming it during the same event into a completely different space for a different purpose.
In this case we 'flipped' the ceremony into the dinner reception. This is one of many reasons we highly recommend utilizing the Carondelet House in-house catering team, Tres LA. They have the whole space flipping thing down to a science (pun intended of course!) The tables are on wheels and they hustle, shuffle and move them into the ceremony space faster than a herd of cheetahs (the fastest land animal on earth, duh.)
Included in the venue rental you will get use of the reclaimed wood tables, distressed benches, vintage French cafe chairs, Chesterfield sofas and belly bars. They have beautiful furniture.. like the really really good pieces that typically cost a boatload through rental companies. Figure out a way to utilize them all.. We did and it looked great while saving major dough. We ended up only having to rent a few extra chairs and table linens!
With the money you will save on rentals by utilizing their stunning in house pieces, we HIGHLY recommend bringing in extra lighting. Carondelet House has some great lighting features, but they are not enough to really make the spectacular worn brick walls come to life. The extra uplighting we brought in, washed the worn bricks in an amber glow and truly transformed the space from a 'wow' to a 'whoooaaaaa'. We like the 'whoooaaas' around here.
We opted to repurpose and utilize the ceremony structure as a backdrop to the head table. There are many ways you can set up the dining tables at Carondelet House, and we wanted to try a configuration that they hadn't done at the venue before. We set the room up in a U Shape with the head table connecting the U. It looked dramatic and placed Chris and Cindy at the front of the room so the guests could see them during the teary and silly toasts. We then utilized the round tables for the rest of the dining area so that we could seat all 150 guests. It was tight, but we shall call it cozy :)
The night was filled with confetti, carbs and finger lickin' eats by Tres La. We'll say it again.. we cannot recommend using their catering team enough. They know the venue so well and they ensured that the night was flowing as graciously as wine at a winery. We truly had nag-free nuptials and an enchanting, magical night with fun festivities and great venue staff who wholeheartedly assisted our team to make the wedding flawless. The hardest part of the night was the flipping of the space from ceremony to dinner reception, but with the help of Tres LA we did it in an hour!
The evening was full of merrymakers and guests drank everything from wine to whiskey. After dinner and toasts, guests meandered from 'The Ballroom' space back to the front rooms for a dessert Pop Tart bar (we sneakily set up during dinner), a same day edit wedding video by Elysium Video Productions, followed by an all out dance party!
From the Bride & Groom
Cindy reported "Chris and I share a love for all things science, animals (the weirder, the better), and humor. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and wanted more than anything for our wedding to be filled with warmth and laughter!
"We opted for an intimate, secret garden, old world science vibe with pops of quirky humor. we sprinkled animal doodles (thanks to my talented cousin), brass figurines, and masks throughout the wedding – in our programs, decor, floral arrangements, and even cocktails! We used science beakers as candle votives and astronomy prints as guest signing posters."
"Thanks to our extraordinary planner and florist, our eclectic taste and quirky interests came together cohesively, and they brought it to life so very perfectly."
Event planning + design by The Venue Report | Photography: Max & Friends | Venue: Carondelet House Los Angeles, California | Florals: Eucca Floral Studio | Hair + Makeup: Symmetry Beauty by Nyrie | Videography: Elysium Productions | Deer Head: Printed Palette Ink | Menus: Lucky To Be In Love | Seating chart + Signing Posters by Pink Loves Purple | Animal Doodles by Debra Chow | Catering: Tres LA | Music: DJ JP McLeod | Lighting: Images by Lighting